Political and Social Issues
This week we are going to rewind to May 2008 when Dewey picked one of my favorite Weekly Geeks themes: Political and Social Issues. Since we have many new members to the Weekly Geeks Event, I thought it might be fun to revisit this fantastic theme.
Here is how to play:
1. Choose a political or social issue that matters to you. If you were a Weekly Geek last May and already did this theme, pick a different theme than the one you did at that time.
2. Educate readers about your topic by telling us a little about it and any involvement you've had in this issue.
3. Find books addressing your issue; they do not necessarily have to be books you’ve read. They can be non fiction, fiction, poetry, etc...Give a little synopsis of the book or a link to the description.
4. Use images which you feel illustrate your topic. You can be as creative as you like - have fun with the theme and show us your passion!
I have to admit that I found this week's Weekly Geeks topic to be extremely difficult for me to write about. I've discovered that I'm not very passionate (and definitely not very knowledgable) about any major social issue! Of course I do have my fair share of opinions on some pretty important (and controversial) social issues; however, I'm not entirely sure I feel comfortable talking about them here.
At this point in my life, I find that I tend to focus on "micro" issues rather than the "macro" ones -- I am much more involved with the needs and issues of my family and friends. The first thing that popped into my mind that I could actually write about is children with life threatening food allergies. Because I have a child with life-threatening food allergies, this subject is very near and dear to my heart. It is something that is always on my mind and a major part of my life.
However when I checked the link to social issues, I saw that food allergies wasn't listed (no big surprise there.) I decided that I was going to "pretend" that it was one anyway because it is important to a heck of a lot of people, especially our family and friends; but my husband laughed at me and suggested I talk about something else. As I write this post, I keep telling myself that I need to talk about breast cancer because that is another subject that I feel touches every one's life, but I keep coming back to my food allergy issue.
So, I'm going to write a little bit about food allergies; and I apologize if I'm not playing entirely by the rules this week, but it's the best I can do!
My son was diagnosed with food allergies when he was just a couple of months old. To make a long story short, he had terrible eczema so I took him to an allergist and we discovered that he was allergic to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. A few years later, we discovered that he was not only allergic to the foods listed above, but he was also allergic to shellfish and loads of environmental things such as dogs, trees, dust mites, etc. I started to read everything I could find about food allergies and just prayed that he would eventually outgrow some of them. While the allergist could tell me that he was very allergic to these items, she couldn't tell me exactly what his reaction would be. We kind of had to assume the worst and carry an epi-pen everywhere.
It was only a matter of time until we discovered that he had life-threatening allergies to tree nuts and dairy (and we still don't know what else because he hasn't been exposed to them.) I can't express how scary it is to see your child having an allergic reaction and have to rush them to the hospital. I understand that a lot of people think all the rules about peanut-free schools and airplanes are an over-reaction, but I doubt they've ever seen a child whose eyes swell shut, or one who stops breathing, or one who starts to violently throw up just to get the allergen out of their system -- it's terrifying!
Food allergies are becoming a huge problem in our society, and it is beginning to touch every one's lives. For some (largely unknown) reason, children with life-threatening food allergies are on the rise; and I would be surprised if you didn't know at least one person living with this problem. What's even more worrisome to me is that researchers are finding that children are not outgrowing food allergies like they once thought. Schools are being forced to address this growing concern -- some schools (like my son's preschool are totally peanut-free) while other schools have separate areas for "allergy kids" to eat. Either way, schools are now being required to have written plans for handling this situation. Daycare providers, babysitters, and parents who have these children over for play dates must also be aware of the severity of this condition. And even other young children must understand that something as simple as a peanut butter cookie or a glass of milk can be deadly to their friend.
I feel fortunate that there are so many wonderful resources out there as well as support groups for people who want to learn more about food allergies. One website I recommend is Kids With Food Allergies. This website provides allergy alerts, recipes, forums, other allergy links, etc. to help educate people.
I have reviewed a few books on this blog which deal with with food allergies. All of these books are helpful and I highly recommend them:
Cookbook - WHAT ELSE IS TO EAT? THE DAIRY-, EGG-, AND NUT-FREE FOOD ALLERGY COOKBOOK by Linda Coss -- review
Summary: "What Else is to Eat?" features recipes for foods that everyone can enjoy, whether they have food allergies or not. Main dishes, side dishes, breakfast foods, and baked goods are all included. With an emphasis on fast and easy recipes that use "normal," easy-to-find ingredients, this book is designed for today's busy lifestyles. -- Plumtree Press
Novel - MATTERS OF FAITH by Kristy Kiernan -- review
Summary: At age twelve, Marshall Tobias saw his best friend killed by a train. It was then that he began his search for faith—delving into one tradition, then discarding it for another. His parents, however, have little time for spiritual contemplation. Their focus has been on his little sister Megan, who suffers from severe food allergies.
Now Marshall is home from college with his first real girlfriend, but there is more to Ada than meets the eye—including her beliefs about the evils of medical intervention. What follows is a crisis that tests not only faith, but the limits of family, forgiveness, and our need to believe. -- Berkley
Children's Book - THE PEANUT PICKLE by Jessica Ureel - review
Summary: Your child has a peanut allergy. Now what? Coping with severe food allergies can be overwhelming, especially for a young child. Find out how Ben learns to take control of his peanut allergy in school, at parties, with friends, at t-ball practice and during holidays. Kids will learn to speak up about their allergy and how to deal with difficult and awkward situations that inevitably arise when a child has a life-threatening food allergy. -- Barnes and Noble